Thursday Aug 30, 2012

Drinking Our Own Champagne: Fusion Accounting Hub at Oracle

A guest post by Corey West, Senior Vice President, Oracle's Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer

There's no better story to tell than one about Oracle using its own products with blowout success. Here's how this one goes.

As you know, Oracle has increased its share of the software market through a number of high-profile acquisitions. Legally combining companies is a very complicated process -- it can take months to complete, especially for the acquisitions with offices in several countries, each with its own unique laws and regulations. It's a mission critical and time sensitive process to roll an acquired company's legacy systems (running vital operations, such as accounts receivable and general ledger (GL)) into the existing systems at Oracle.

To date, we've run our primary financial ledgers in E-Business Suite R12 -- and we've successfully met the requirements of the business and closed the books on time every single quarter. But there's always room for improvement and that comes in the form of Fusion Applications. We are now live on Fusion Accounting Hub (FAH), which is the first critical step in moving to a full Fusion Financials instance.

We started with FAH so that we could design a global chart of accounts. Eventually, every transaction in every country will originate from this global chart of accounts -- it becomes the structure for managing our business more uniformly. In conjunction, we're using Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Management (DRM) to centralize and automate governance of our global chart of accounts and related hierarchies, which will help us lower our costs and greatly reduce risk.

Each month, we have to consolidate data from our primary general ledgers. We have been able to simplify this process considerably using FAH. We can now submit our primary ledgers running in E-Business Suite (EBS) R12 directly to FAH, eliminating the need for more than 90 redundant consolidation ledgers. Also we can submit incrementally, so if we need to book an adjustment in a primary ledger after close, we can do so without re-opening it and re-submitting. As a result, we have earlier visibility to period-end actuals during the close.

A goal of this implementation, and one that we successfully achieved, is that we are able to use FAH globally with no customization. This means we have the ability to fully deploy ledger sets at the consolidation level, plus we can use standard functionality for currency translation and mass allocations. We're able to use account monitoring and drill down functionality from the consolidation level all the way through to EBS primary ledgers and sub-ledgers, which allows someone to click through a transaction appearing at the consolidation level clear through to its original source, a significant productivity enhancement when doing research. We also see a significant improvement in reporting using Essbase cube and Hyperion Smart View. Specifically, "the addition of an Essbase cube on top of the GL gives us tremendous versatility to automate and speed our elimination process," says Claire Sebti, Senior Director of Corporate Accounting at Oracle.

A highlight of this story is that FAH is running in a co-existence environment. Our plan is to move to Fusion Financials in steps, starting with FAH. Next, our Oracle Financial Services Software subsidiary will move to a full Fusion Financials instance. Then we'll replace our EBS instance with Fusion Financials. This approach allows us to plan in steps, learn as we go, and not overwhelm our teams. It also reduces the risk that comes with moving the entire instance at once. Maria Smith, Vice President of Global Controller Operations, is confident about how they've positioned themselves to uptake more Fusion functionality and is eager to "continue to drive additional efficiency and cost savings."

In this story, the happy customers are Oracle controllers, financial analysts, accounting specialists, and our management team that get earlier access to more flexible reporting. "Fusion Accounting Hub simplifies our processes and gives us more transparency into account activity," raves Alex SanJuan, Senior Director, Record to Report Strategic Process Owner. Overall, the team has been very impressed with the usability and functionality of FAH and are pleased with the quantifiable improvements. Claire Sebti states, "Our WD5 close activities have been reduced by at least four hours of system processing time, just for the consolidation group."

Fusion Accounting Hub is an inspiring beginning to our Fusion Financials implementation story. There's no doubt it's going to be an international bestseller!

Corey West, Senior Vice President
Oracle's Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer

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Focusing on solutions for the Office of Finance, this blog will highlight key financial management market trends, events and other news of interest.

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